Danielle Acoff is a professional dancer, model, actress, and yoga instructor with a passion for holistic health. She has worked in entertainment for 12 years and uses yoga, meditation, and her love for all things movement to keep her balanced in a high-pressure industry. Keep an eye out for her articles about everything from self-care to breathing techniques. Below, she explains how to truly savor every positive moment during the holiday season—no matter how stressed or bummed out you might be feeling this time of year.
Holidays are quickly approaching, and that means food, indulging, family, or just some good old relaxation! Either way, the holidays coming into full swing means lots of energy and excitement as we close out another year. That's not to say it's smooth sailing, by any means, but there are so many amazing moments that punctuate the stress of the holidays, and we want to make sure we take the time to mindfully soak up and savor them no matter what. My go-to techniques for making the most of it all go hand in hand with mindfulness and can be used anytime, anywhere.
Close your eyes and say "thank you"
There is nothing like gratitude to drop you into present-moment awareness. When we say thank you, we are instantly aligned in that time in space, and those two words can lock us into the moment just by bringing mindful conscious awareness to it. It’s so easy to breeze past these amazing times in our life with a smile, but stopping—even just for a second—gives the moment the space and attention it deserves.
Try this: Next time you are fully engaged in a blissful moment, pause to concentrate on the moment, close your eyes for a second, and say to yourself, “Thank you.”
Take a mental photo
Everyone I know is constantly taking photos, for sharing and for social media—me included. But have you thought about taking a mental photo? Hear me out: While taking a photo is great to have for the future, mentally taking in the sights, absorbing the sounds, and giving attention to every detail allow these moments to be deeply locked away so we can remember the experience at any point and access the joy as if we were back in that moment. This type of memory building is like a mental souvenir for your soul.
Try this: Take 10 seconds to feel yourself breathing in and out, look around, and notice colors, sounds, everything you see and feel. Take a mental photo by acknowledging all your senses, and stare at the mental “photo” for 10 seconds to fully download it to your mind’s memory bank.
There are so many ways to reflect on the vivid memories in order to savor our joyful moments, but my favorite way to reflect is pen to paper in a gratitude journal. I think it’s so deeply important to also write down these vivid memories and feelings in order to celebrate your feelings of happiness and well-being. It’s a great thing to keep on hand so that we might read them back in moments of sadness and remember that we have great people and wonderful moments in our lives. This practice of reflecting in gratitude will give you new perspective on what is truly important in your life.
Try this: At the end of the day, write down five to 10 things that made you smile from the day, and add notes of delicious memories and details from those joyful experiences. While writing, imagine the experience. Savoring these moments will only make you appreciate them more.